Page:Aether and Matter, 1900.djvu/201

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presupposes that the nucleus of the electron is quite labile as regards displacement through the aether, in other words that its movement is not influenced by any inertia or forces except such as are the expression of its relation to the aether: we in fact assume the completeness of the aethereal scheme of relations as above given. Any difficulty that may be felt on account of the infinite values of the vectors at the nucleus itself may be removed, in the manner customary in analytical discussions on attractions, by considering the nucleus to consist of a volume distribution of electricity of finite but very great density, distributed through a very small space instead of being absolutely concentrated in a point: then the quantities will not become infinite. Of the detailed structure of electrons nothing is assumed: so long as the actual dimensions of their nuclei are extremely small in comparison with the distances between them, it will suffice for the theory to consider them as points, just as for example in the general gravitational theory of the Solar System it suffices to consider the planets as attracting points. This method is incomplete only as regards those portions of the energy and other quantities that are associated with the mutual actions of the parts of the electron itself, and are thus molecularly constitutive.

105. It is to be observed that on the view here being developed, in which atoms of matter are constituted of aggregations of electrons, the only actions between atoms are what may be described as electric forces. The electric character of the forces of chemical affinity was an accepted part of the chemical views of Davy, Berzelius, and Faraday; and more recent discussions, while clearing away crude conceptions, have invariably tended to the strengthening of that hypothesis. The mode in which the ordinary forces of cohesion could be included in such a view is still quite undeveloped. Difficulties of this kind have however not been felt to be fundamental in the vortex-atom illustration of the constitution of matter, which has exercised much fascination over high authorities on molecular physics: yet in the concrete realization of Maxwell's theory of the aether above referred to, the atom of matter